dumb up
v. To make an item seem more highbrow by adding token cultural artifacts; to raise one‘s intellectual and cultural values.

Example Citations:
Like Kennedy's White House, Buckingham Palace could have been an intellectual and artistic salon of international distinction: instead of horse trainers and shotguns, instead of Royal Variety Shows, It's a Knockout, and Sir Cliff Richard, why not a salon of musicians and historians, poets and scientists, endowed Royal Scholars, Royal Fellows, Royal Professors? Elitist? Of course it is, but who begrudges an elite that inspires the rest of us to dumb up and join it?
—Richard Dawkins, "50 YEARS 50 VOICES: 1952-2002," The Independent, May 31, 2002

Though the concept may seem ludicrous to some, TV has its classics too. One such prime-time paragon was Get Smart, the Mel Brooks/Buck Henry-created spy spoof from the '60s starring Don Adams as secret agent Maxwell Smart. Now, Fox has exhumed the show. "Revived" would be too positive a word to apply to this fiasco.

In this rehash, Max has risen to the office of chief of the espionage agency C.O.N.T.R.O.L. The chief's underling, his cracked operative, is Zach Smart (Andy Dick), his son with the former Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon redux).

Whereas Dad was a pompous blockhead, the younger Smart has a weak, ineffectual air. The sitcom — all slapstick and silly gadgetry — is demeaning to its returnees. . . . Fox hasn't done anyone a favor by dumbing up Get Smart.
—David Hiltbrand, "Picks and Pans," People, January 30, 1995

Earliest Citation:
The telepic is probably acceptable to those unfamiliar with Henri-Georges Clouzot‘s film, and the Louisiana locations are a benefit, but this version dumbs up the original.
—Todd Everett, “NBC Monday Night at the Movies HOUSE OF SECRETS,” Daily Variety, November 1, 1993

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